Outcome-based system: a necessary shift

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014


THE education sector is struggling to cope up with the demands of the labor market due to the traditional education system that had somehow not managed to keep up with the times.

Since the establishment of the education system, students have been stuck inside the four walls of the classroom listening to lectures, getting busy with seat works, and reading academic books.

This is proving to be not enough for a graduate to be able to jump on the job market as soon as they graduate.

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The Commission on Higher Education (Ched) recognizes these and have thus introduced a new system, that can somehow stimulate learning that is somehow in tune with what the job market demands.

CHED-Davao's supervising education program specialist Luis D. Perez, in an interview with Sun.Star Davao said they are developing the outcome-based system.

"The ultimate goal of the outcome-based system is to equip the graduates with the right knowledge, skills and attitude to become a more competent citizen that is why there are a few key points in the education system that should be revised to achieve the expected results," Perez said.

The Framework

Perez said the outcome-based system has four strategies that should coincide to form a continuous learning cycle.

The first strategy is the program educational objective which involves setting a goal for what quality of graduates will be produced.

Second is the establishment of the student outcome which should point out the specific knowledge, skills and attitude that a graduate learned throughout the course.

The third strategy is the assessment and evaluation where various methods that measure the learning of a student should be applied, while the final strategy is the continuous monitoring and feedback of the skills of the graduate where stakeholders from different sectors should also take part in gauging whether the graduates have enough skills to offer in the labor market.

"These strategies should be mapped out before it is incorporated within the curriculum. If there are already established goals and methods of assessment and monitoring, it would complete the cycle until such time that more revises will be done to achieve the ultimate goal for the graduates," Perez said.

The framework can be applied for the reform in the curriculum as well as the teaching method until the reforms will have a domino effect on the school's programs and the eventually the whole education system.

Reforms in methods and curriculum

The traditional educational system applies the lecture-based form of teaching where students are compelled to jot down notes and scan their books to cope up with what the teacher presents during the session. The curriculum in the traditional system, meanwhile, focuses on the foundations and the theoretical aspect of a particular lesson. The assessment modes in the traditional system apply to written and oral exams and seat works.

But as Perez said, beyond exams, there should be ample time to discuss the rationale of the lesson and how it could be applied for practical use while the update on the curriculum should be more inclined on the skills that could be developed upon learning the principles. The assessment, meanwhile, should include practical exams, group works, demonstrations and projects where the principles of the lessons are applied.

"Teachers should offer a more multi-faceted learning experience meaning the lessons will be more substantiated on how it is applied in reality. Of course, it is still necessary to lecture on the theories and principles but the real lesson comes when there is application of the theories and principles. At the end of each class, teachers, through various assessment methods, should already know if their students have acquired a skill," Perez said.

Along with the reform in the teaching and assessment methods and the curriculum, corresponding improvements in the facilities should also done. Perez also mentioned the importance of shifting from the teacher-centered approach to the student-centered approach where the students' preference for teaching methods and skills needed become priority.

Integration of the framework

Perez said that the country's education system should be at par with its counter parts from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) as well as other educational treaties all over the world. But with the current education system, Philippines is virtually left behind thus, CHED-Davao is trying to push the outcome-based system in education.

"When we participate in the ASEAN integration program, we should already have the same education standards with the member countries to get an accreditation. When we have the accreditation the skills of our graduates become recognized thus, this could help address the issue of underemployment," Perez said.

But the integration of the outcome-based framework in the entire education system still has a long way to go. In the region, only the engineering program is being integrated with the outcome-based system. The reason why CHED-Davao prioritized the engineering program is due to the intent of participating in the Washington Accord, an international accreditation agreement for engineering programs between the accrediting bodies of its signatory countries. Since engineering graduates are among the most in-demand graduates in the labor market, it also justifies why CHED-Davao is pushing the integration of the framework in the program.

Issues on the adaptation
Perez admitted that the outcome-based system is yet to be realized especially that the traditional system is very much in place. CHED-Davao is still mapping out an effective mode of delivery of the outcome-based system.

"The challenge now is how the framework will be delivered since we cannot just replace the traditional system easily. CHED-Davao along with the different stakeholders in the different sectors are now working together to know how we could make a smooth transition to the new system," Perez said.

He added that from the CHED's end, the monitoring of schools and their programs should also shift from the input-based to the output-based, which means that they will be more focused on the quality of graduates while also making a checklist of the necessary improvements in the facilities and faculty.

The paradigm shift still has no specific timeframe and the people in the education sector are yet to grasp the potential of the outcome-based system. Although there has been no assurance yet that the paradigm shift will be successful, CHED hopes that the shift will get the nod of the international accrediting bodies which in turn could increase the chances of the graduates to not only get the job related to their course but to become contributing individuals in the society as well.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on April 01, 2014.

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